We arrived at Los Roques as planned at about 10am – as we needed eyeball navigation to get through the reef around the anchorage. We had made good time and had about 4-5 hours up our sleeve to make the entry. Problem was it was terrible weather – squally and dark. Too much cloud and visibility so low we didn’t dare attempt the entry. We waited for about 4 hours hoping it would clear up enough for us to see the reef but this front was here to stay and we didn’t fancy hanging around on a moonless night off a large reef. Decision taken- we would go straight to Curacao and miss Los Roques. It was a bit disappointing but as you can only enter Los Roques every other week we had to go to this particular anchorage to wait and it was untenable in those conditions. Safety first etc….
2 days later we sailed into Curacao.
A pleasant anchorage had been designated as the quarantine anchorage so we dropped anchor and waited for the authorities to turn up. We waited …. and we called them again and waited…. and called them again.. eventually after 2 days they turned up! We were given another COVID test and waited for the negative results to come in.
We saw a dinghy coming over to us and wondered who it was – then recognised Stuart from White Wings. We had last seen Stuart and Sondra in Saint Martin back in February and had no idea they would be here. Stuart said they had a car and would take us into Willemsted to clear in as soon as we were allowed. Another day later and we were in the car on our way to Willemstad.
Clearing in would have been a monumental task had it not been for Stuart. Customs is about 3 kms from immigration and you have to go to both and also get your anchoring permit from the Harbourmaster. It usually takes over half a day and costs about $80 each way in a taxi. We had a fun day, with the boys finding big hardware stores off the main road, and auto repair shops for new belts etc. Stuart showed us his favourite haunts around Willemstad and we had coffee in his favourite coffee shop. We are forever grateful to Stuart for that day – as we were getting a bit frustrated sitting on the boat for 4 days waiting to check in.
Willemstad has some fabulous wall murals- colourful buildings and gorgeous little lanes with funky little shops. It has a UNESCO heritage town status which it well deserves as not only the old town is very well preserved but the newer section is also a rabbit warren of colourful houses, wall paintings and Dutch style architecture. We loved it.
While we were anchored in Spanish Waters we noticed a familiar looking boat not far from us. To our surprise it was SV Tiger Lily. We had last seen this boat in Kenya where we spent weeks with its previous owners Tom and Lily. They had sold her only a few months earlier so we popped over to say ‘Hi’. I had already texted Lily and told her we were sharing an anchorage with their beloved Tiger Lily and they then called Fabiola and Pedro who were thrilled to meet us. We shared lots of stories the adventures we had both got up to in Kenya and it was lovely to see Tiger Lily with her new young family.
We spent a few weeks exploring around Curacao. We got out our scooters and visited some of the bays along the and caught up with a few people. Ian finalised few jobs and we spent time with Stuart and Sondra. They had converted their 48ft Leopard saloon into a massive day-bed complete with a 52in TV screen – a fabulous idea. Now that’s comfort sailing!
Stuart and Sandra left for Aruba a few days later as they were heading back to the US but we promised to try and catch up with them in Panama.
We had shared our quarantine anchorage with a boat called SV Blue Infinity. We had tentatively arranged to catch up with them for a drink when we were free but they disappeared from the anchorage a day or so later – we didn’t know where to but would likely catch up again somewhere. Meanwhile we were getting itchy feet and wanted to go somewhere else and Klein Curacao seemed the logical place. Also known as Little Curacao it is a small island a few hours sail away – uninhabited and very beautiful. We arrived to a place similar to Barbuda – a truly gorgeous beach with only a few boats bobbing around in the bay – and there was Blue Infinity sitting in the Bay. Ian and Diane are originally English, Ian spent many years in Australia and they have both been in the US for the last 30 years so even though their boat was American flagged they still both have their English accents. We spent a great few days swimming around and enjoying their company and promised to catch up in the San Blas island in about 4 weeks. We were going to Colombia first and they were sailing straight to the San Blas.
When we got back to Curacao we went for a hike up behind the anchorage. We found a much more diverse lamdscape from most of the Caribbean islands as Curacao is very dry. There were huge cacti everywhere and spinifex. Spiky bushes lined the paths and our hiking shoes were covered in nasty spikes that went clean through the rubber in one case. Had we been in flip flops it would have been a very painful walk!
We started to organise our trip to Colombia and wait for the right weather window. It was only a few days so not much provisioning but as always checks have to be made. We visited Willemsted a few more times, once with our scooters on the bus so we could get around the town easier. We felt really comfortable in Curacao and have decided it is one of our favourite Carribbean islands. It seemed sad to leave but maybe one day we will be back……
Colombia here we come..